What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?


Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Word of the Week

In Camera

It's a Latin term, meaning "in chambers" or more generally, "in private." A judge's private office is known as his or her "chambers," as every viewer of Law & Order knows from the recurring scene in which a fed-up judge barks to the lawyers "In chambers -- now!" It's the legal equivalent of being taken to the woodshed. When the parties disagree as to the admissibility of document, the judge will often conduct an "in camera inspection" of the document, far away from the jury's gaze.

By the way, the judge's camera is related to Kodak cameras. The photographic variety is a shortened version of camera obscura -- a darkened room into which light is admitted through a double convex lens, casting an image on a suitable surface.